Early projection of Giants' 26-man Opening Day roster


With just over a month remaining until pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale Stadium, you could say the Giants have a lot of work to do on their roster -- or barely none at all.The group they've put together thus far is deeper and more talented than last year's team that surprisingly finished just a game under .500, and if the Giants had to start the season tomorrow, they probably wouldn't feel they had gaping holes outside of one rotation spot.But subtly upgrading last year's roster wasn't the goal. The Giants have some aging players who might not repeat their 2020 success, or at the very least do so for a full season, and they ran out of starting pitching last year over just 60 games. They need at least one more good arm, another left-handed bat, and if the opportunity presents itself, they won't hesitate to upgrade a spot where they might currently feel just about set.Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris have both hinted there are moves coming in the next couple of weeks, and even if not many move the needle, you know they still have plenty of experienced non-roster invitees to add to the spring mix. As we wait for further additions, here's a projection of what the opening day roster will look like, with notes on spots where the Giants will still add:

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Projection: Buster Posey, Curt Casali

The Giants are all set here after giving Casali a big league deal earlier this month. Posey has been a regular at Oracle Park this offseason and team officials are excited about the way he looks, and the Giants signed Casali to give their younger catchers a chance at more development. Joey Bart and Chadwick Tromp are set to start in Triple-A, with Bart getting most of the time as he tries to hit his way back to the big leagues. 

"Certainly going into spring training with [Bart] being in a position where we had to consider putting him on the roster or were forced to consider it didn't make sense," Zaidi said recently. "We certainly want him to be part of that competition but we want to have alternatives if it's the best thing for his development." 

Casali was the choice, giving the Giants some right-handed thump behind Posey, who is expected to take on a heavy workload after a year off.


Projection: Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Donovan Solano, Wilmer Flores, Free Agent TBD

There are five locks for four starting spots, although Flores could end up as an everyday player if the DH is brought back. It's an old group, but one that put up plenty of production in 2020. The Giants signed Jason Vosler to add a left-handed bat to the mix at third and right now he would be the sixth infielder, but the odds are pretty high that they push someone ahead of Vosler on the depth chart by the time the spring starts.

Tommy La Stella is one option, and Jonathan Villar would seem to make sense, too. Expect the opening day infield to be the five listed above plus one more veteran who bats from the left side, with Vosler providing depth in Triple-A. 


Projection: Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater, Mauricio Dubon, Darin Ruf

Perhaps the biggest stunner of 2020 was that Giants outfielders ranked as a top-five unit offensively, and the group is intact heading into spring training. The Giants would be just fine starting the season with those five, but this is another area where a late addition could alter the opening-day mix. The left-handed bat they seek could end up being an outfielder (Joc Pederson makes a ton of sense at the right price), which would lead to changes elsewhere.

Slater has an option remaining, and while that would be an unfair demotion, it's possible if the Giants add one more veteran and keep everyone healthy in the spring. Ruf's contract is not fully guaranteed, which could end up coming into play late in the spring. Dubon could return to a utility role if the addition is a left-handed-hitting center fielder. 


Projection: Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Anthony Desclafani, Free Agent TBD, Logan Webb

Gausman is just about a lock to start on opening day, and the Giants truly believe there's another step up from his 2020 production. Beyond him, there's a lot of volatility. 

Cueto is the biggest star and is coming up on a contract year, but he's also just a few months removed from having the worst ERA in the National League. The Giants will slide Cueto into the second or third slot in their rotation and hope that a bounceback season is coming.

Desclafani had a strong year in 2018 and then gave up 27 runs in 33 2/3 innings over the shortened season. The Giants gave him $6 million to be the latest in the line of reclamation projects, and he has a firm grasp on a rotation spot. 

Webb's first full season wasn't what the Giants hoped, but he's just 24 and a fair amount rides on his ability to stick in the rotation long-term, as none of the other starters are under team control beyond 2021. There's a chance, though, that the remaining offseason additions bump Webb back to Triple-A. Tyler Beede's return early in the season will add to the mix. 

The prediction here is the Giants add one more Desclafani type and slide him into the rotation, along with a swingman -- someone like a Trevor Cahill or Tyler Anderson -- who can start if something goes wrong during spring training or join the bullpen as the long man.


Projection: Matt Wisler, Tyler Rogers, Trevor Gott, Reyes Moronta, Jarlin Garcia, Caleb Baragar, Dedniel Nuñez, Non-Roster Invitee TBD

It feels like the Giants are up to something here. They have plenty of arms for eight spots, but there are so many experienced free-agent relievers still out there that it's hard to imagine them not inviting three of four more to spring training. One of those guys (and maybe more) is going to be good enough, and experienced enough, to win a job.

You could put this bullpen together a dozen different ways even with the current options. Wandy Peralta and Sam Selman did enough in 2020 to be right in the mix, Camilo Doval is coming fast, and there's always a chance that someone like Shaun Anderson or even Kervin Castro looks so good in Arizona that it's a no-brainer to put him on the roster. There's a world where Baragar pitches the eighth and Moronta the ninth on opening day, but it also wouldn't be nuts for the Giants to stash them in Sacramento at the start of the year.

The guess right now is that the Giants protect their inventory, mixing out-of-options guys (Gott, Garcia) and their Rule 5 pick (Nuñez) with big arms and newcomers.

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